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Smoke and Numbers: Do Green Claims for Burning Wood Add Up?

Smoke and Numbers: Do Green Claims for Burning Wood Add Up?
The trouble with biomass carbon "offsets": Growing trees absorb carbon from the air (1-4). Burning wood releases it again (5); just like burning coal or oil (6). "Offsets" imagine that carbon released from burning wood "cancels out" carbon from fossil fuels (7). It doesn't; it adds to them (8). In fact, it takes decades for new trees to recapture the carbon released when the old ones were burned (9-12). Graphic by Indiana Joel.

For a place with so much nature, British Columbia has struggled to identify with any of the big next-generation sources of renewable energy.

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In This Series

Are Climate Claims for Burning Renewable Trees a Smokescreen?

Are Climate Claims for Burning Renewable Trees a Smokescreen?

The answer surprised us too. First in a series.

Robert McClure / 22 Apr 2014


Biomass Fuel: Worse for Climate than Coal?

Biomass Fuel: Worse for Climate than Coal?

It depends. Do you mean now, or decades later? Part of a series.

Robert McClure / 23 Apr 2014


Sketchy Claims Inflate BC's Wood Energy Exports

Sketchy Claims Inflate BC's Wood Energy Exports

In efforts to sell 'biomass energy' to Europe and beyond, the climate may be the loser.

Robert McClure / 24 Apr 2014